Is ‘Empire’ Gay Bashing? Shonda Rhimes Speaks

January 8, 2015 1 Comment »
Is ‘Empire’ Gay Bashing? Shonda Rhimes Speaks

Empire premiered on FOX last night and Cookie (played by Taraji P. Henson) is already causing controversy on-screen and off.

Taraji plays the strong matriarch Cookie who doesn’t take no mess. Her presence is undeniable, drenched in attitude and draped in fabulous furs, the HBIC is large and in-charge.She beat the living daylights out of her sassy-mouthed son with a broom, she’s cusses like a sailor calling grown men bitches by the dozens. And when her gay son rejected her offer to manage his music career, like diarrhea, the words “Stupid Sissy” oozed from her mouth with ease. But is Empire getting a pass for gay-bashing?


Last night’s dialogue on Empire may have been a little bit scandalous for Shonda Rhimes. Today the screenwriter, director, and producer called into question the dialogue on Empire. Shonda, a staunch supporter of gay rights, tweeted out:

She didn’t exactly say which words she was shocked by but clearly the anti-gay slur used by Cookie is questionable.

Shonda the executive producer of the hit television shows Greys Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder, has no tolerance for gay-bashing and is surely not giving FOX a pass to bash.


Stupid Sissy? Bet you won’t find that kind of crass talk in any Shondaland script.

Just recently Shonda shot down a Twitter user who complained about gay scenes on her shows, including those on the new hit How to Get Away With Murder. Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder which both feature gay male characters in the regular cast.

She dropped a series of tweets and told a viewer “If You Don’t Like “Gay Scenes, Don’t Watch My Shows,” after he complained there were too many gay scenes.

So calling gays derogatory names probably made Shonda clutch her pearls. Remember Isaiah Washington? Dude got fired from Grey’s Anatomy for using the word “faggot” in an argument with another co-worker. Shonda don’t play.

On Empire there was also a flashback scene that would make any mother cringe. Lucious, played by Terrance Howard, gripped up his young son and hauled off and threw him in the trash after the little boy pranced around him and family members in his momma’s high heel and scarf on his head.

That scene is actually true to form. Empire co-creator tweeted saying that scene was taken from Lee Daniels life growing up gay in the hood.

Poll: Was Empire’s dialogue too harsh?

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One Comment

  1. Scott January 9, 2015 at 11:13 am -

    I was really looking forward to Empire. Great cast and storyline. However, I was really stunned, and honestly, offended by the casual use of the words sissy and fa**ot..
    Since when is it allowed to openly bash gays on tv..If I used the N word as a white guy, I would be persecuted immediately. Just sayin…
    As much as I liked the show, I won’t support it and will advise as many people as I know to do the same.